Oxford Street to become ‘more exciting,’ with planned £60m spend

By Jacob Phillips, Local Democracy Reporter

Westminster City council is set to spend about £60m over the next three years to make Oxford Street “more exciting,” according to a budget meeting.

But the exact figure the council will spend on the famous shopping street is unknown after the new Labour administration tore up the Conservatives’ plan for the road.

The Tories had planned to spend £120m on Oxford Street and projects in the surrounding area, as part of the Oxford Street District programme.

But an independent review was launched into the huge regeneration project last year after it was revealed the council spent more than £6m – three times its budget – on the Marble Arch Mound in late 2021.

The Conservative administration spent £35.7m on the overall Oxford Street project before the review was launched, and former Camden council chief executive Mike Cooke is currently looking into what lessons can be learnt from the programme.

Westminster City council also had to shelve plans to create two temporary pedestrian piazzas on either side of Oxford Circus.

Now the council’s new Labour administration is redrawing plans for the famous shopping street.

The council, which was run by the Conservatives for 58 years, was turned upside down when Labour took control for the first time in May 2022.

Labour’s plans for Oxford Street are in the design stage, and details of what the road will look like are expected to be revealed in the coming months, a budget meeting heard.

Westminster’s deputy chief executive Bernie Flaherty said: “We are in a position at the moment where we are building up a business case and design stage one. By April we will know how much the scheme is likely to cost.”

She added: “Three or four different elements… will make the street much more exciting and will make the street touristy and commercial.”

A council budget shows that Westminster Tories had planned to spend £60.5 million before 2025 and the council is expected to spend a similar amount of money on the project, according to the deputy chief executive.

In total the council is expected to spend £2.7 billion in the next five years, in keeping with how much has been spent in previous years, the budget scrutiny meeting heard.

The council has committed huge sums to housing projects in the borough. Westminster City council is expected to spend £84m over the next five years on redeveloping Church Street in Lisson Grove.

The Church Street masterplan includes rebuilding 228 council homes and 156 new homes, plus new shops and community facilities. The new development will also include new pedestrianised routes, green spaces and a library.

The council has also budgeted £10m for community hubs, £2.5m for electrical vehicle charging points and £1.2m for an extension to the Paddington Arts community centre. A further £30m has also been allocated for future projects.

Pictured top: Oxford Street and Regent Street (Picture: Tony Webster/Flickr)

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